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A diary tells the tale

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What the firemen had to tackle: One of many photographs of the Llanreath Oil Tanks Fire in the Pembroke Dock Archive

What the firemen had to tackle:
One of many photographs of the
Llanreath Oil Tanks Fire in the
Pembroke Dock Archive

A handwritten diary, which recorded the dramatic and tragic day-by-day battle against a huge fire in wartime Pembroke Dock, is on display for the first time.

It was compiled by Captain Tom Breaks, the senior fire officer who took charge of the firefighting teams following the German air attack on the Llanreath Oil Tank Depot 75 years ago, in August 1940.

The ‘Breaks Diary’ is a prized artefact at the Pembroke Dock Heritage Centre and was donated to the town by Captain Breaks’ daughter several years ago.

Martin Cavaney, a Trustee of the Sunderland Trust, which runs the Heritage Centre, said: “We were contacted by his daughter who was anxious that the diary should return to Pembroke Dock. I drove to Cornwall to collect it.

“It is a remarkable document, reflecting a grim chapter in local and national history and much heroism by the firemen. The diary, which is very fragile, is on display at the Heritage Centre and many extracts have been taken from it. It makes a compelling display.”

The Breaks Diary is one part of a major exhibition which marks the 75th anniversary of the Luftwaffe raid.

On Friday and Saturday (Aug 21-22), visitors to the Heritage Centre will be able to enjoy family friendly events with displays and demonstrations by the Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service.

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Community

Pembrokeshire RNLI crew member completes seven marathons in seven days

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BYRON GREY, 21, an RNLI volunteer at Little and Broad Haven has run 186 miles across the Pembrokeshire coast, raising nearly £5,000, to be shared between the lifesaving charity and a local mental health charity.

The fitness fanatic joined the RNLI crew at the age of 17, following in the footsteps of mum Vivienne Grey, launch authority at the station and dad Andy, Lifeboat Operations Manager at Little and Broad Haven.

He was keen to challenge himself to run the extra mile during lockdown and decide to use his efforts to support two of his favourite charities.

Byron, an apprentice at Valero trained hard to complete the gruelling challenge running from Amroth to Poppit, which he completed on Easter Monday. He said:

‘Though lockdown I got into fitness, running especially and wanted to test what I am capable of. So I came up with the idea of running the Pembrokeshire coast path in seven days and decided to raise money for two charities close to my heart.’

To donate to Byron’s challenge please visit https://www.gofundme.com/f/byrons-pembrokeshire-coast-path-challenge?member=7740034&sharetype=teams&utm_campaign=p_na+share-sheet&utm_medium=copy_link&utm_source=customer

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Community

Crymych Library now offering order and collect service

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PEMBROKESHIRE Libraries has extended its popular Order and Collect service to Crymych Library.

Located at Ysgol y Preseli, the library becomes the latest in the county to operate the service, which is already available at libraries in Fishguard, Haverfordwest, Milford Haven, Narberth, Newport, Neyland, Pembroke, Pembroke Dock, Saundersfoot and Tenby.

On weekdays, orders can be placed online via the Order and Collect form at pembrokeshire.gov.uk/libraries-reopening, by e-mailing george.edwards@pembrokeshire.gov.uk and copying in bibs@pembrokeshire.gov.uk, or over the phone by calling 01437 776126.

On Saturdays, orders can be placed by e-mailing crymychlibrary@pembrokeshire.gov.uk, or over the phone by calling the library on 01239 832092.

Library members can select up to a maximum of six items, and can either ask for a pre-selected collection such as romance or thrillers, or select specific titles from the online catalogue that are located at Crymych Library.

To access the online catalogue, log on to pembrokeshire.gov.uk/libraries-and-culture, and select ‘Find Library Books’.

When placing an order, members can also specify their preferred format, such as Spoken Word, Large Print or items in the Welsh Language.

On submitting an order, members will be allocated a timeslot on Saturdays between 10am and 1pm to collect their items.

Library members should be aware of the following guidelines when using the Order and Collect service:

·         The service is for collection only – you will only be allowed to collect your chosen items and will be required to wear a face covering.

·         Queue only if you have an appointment to use the service.

·         Aim to arrive no more than 10 minutes before your allocated timeslot.

·         If you wish to order books but are unable to collect the items yourself, a friend or family member can do so by prior arrangement.

·         You will need to provide your own bag/box when collecting your items.

·         2 metre social distancing must be observed during the collection process.

·         Do not use the Order and Collect service if you or a member of your family is displaying COVID-19 symptoms.

Cllr Paul Miller, Cabinet Member for Economy, Tourism, Leisure and Culture, said “I am delighted that we are now in a position to add Crymych to our list of libraries who are offering the Order and Collect service.

“We continue to work hard behind the scenes towards our ultimate goal of reopening all libraries across the county, when it is safe to do so, and we will announce further developments in due course.”

Library members can also continue to enjoy free access to thousands of e-books, e-audio books, e-magazines and e-comics from home via the 24/7 e-Library.

To access the 24/7 e-Library, log on pembrokeshire.gov.uk/libraries-and-culture, and select ‘24/7 e-Library’.

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Community

Ambitious community project to capture untold stories from across Pembrokeshire

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MILFORD HAVEN’S Torch Theatre is launching ‘The Pembrokeshire Story’, an exciting new community project that aims to connect people across generations in celebrating the Pembrokeshire spirit.

We all love a good story, but they are especially good if they throw light on the place that we are from. The Pembrokeshire Story is trying to bring local artists and our community together by mapping the county through everyday stories told by the people who live here. A story might be something as simple as how life has changed over the years or it might be a special event that you would want to remember. So often these stories remain as legends within our own families, but this is a chance to share them with the world. Everyone has a story to tell and this project will facilitate these stories to be recorded and remembered for generations to come.

The inspiration behind the project originated from the Torch Theatre’s Artistic Director, Peter Doran, who, whilst caring for his father who was suffering with Covid-19 at the start of the pandemic in 2020, encouraged his father to elaborate on stories which previously he had only touched on in passing.

Peter said: “My father told us of his time as an evacuee, having been sent from his home in Liverpool to the Welsh speaking village of Llamberis in North Wales. It was a fascinating tale and one that we might never have heard about had it not been for Covid-19. We’re all so busy, I feel we just don’t spend enough time with each other to allow these wonderful moments to happen, we’re all so busy it would seem.”

Peter’s father has thankfully gone on to make a full recovery from Covid-19 and is continuing to tell many more stories.

The Pembrokeshire Story is being led by Tenby based creative James Williams, who has assembled a team of freelance artists to capture extraordinary stories in different mediums from across the county. These stories are only part of the project and the Torch Theatre requires your help to capture your stories told across the generations.

James added: “Local artists have already been working to gather stories from over the county, and now we’d like to ask you to join in. We are putting out a call for videos made by young people where they interview their grandparents or older relatives about their experiences and stories of Pembrokeshire. These videos will be added to an online Living Archive which will be available for anyone to access.”

All the stories submitted will be added to the Living Archive on the Pembrokeshire Story website which will be launched in April. Videos can be made on a phone or recorded from a digital platform call (ideally filmed in landscape), they can be in English or in Welsh but must be no longer than 5 minutes.

If you would prefer not to film your submission, we would be happy to receive your story as an audio recording (mp3 format) or in writing, with an accompanying photograph.

For more information visit https://www.torchtheatre.co.uk/the-pembrokeshire-story/

If you would like to submit a story, please contact James Williams via this email address marketing@torchtheatre.co.uk

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